I'm Leah Jackson, the "LJ" in LJ Puppy Play. I've owned pets my whole life and have always loved dogs. I currently own a 2-year-old goldendoodle named Oliver. While I'm not a dog trainer, I have worked with Oliver and trained him extensively since he was 10 weeks old. I really wanted to help Oliver become a happy, loving, smart dog who could help others.
We've been through so much training together that Oliver is now a certified AKC Canine Good Citizen. This means we passed a rigorous class and exam testing him on skills, and he's now trained enough to start even more intense training as a therapy dog. My future goal is to get Oliver trained as a therapy dog so he can help kids learn to read in schools and help at senior communities.
Oliver's training began with the GoodPup app as soon as I got him. Our trainer, Rebecca, was incredibly patient with me, Oliver, and helped both of us learn so many basic and advanced dog training skills.
I cannot recommend GoodPup enough to supplement any training you're doing!
Once Oliver was old enough to go to group pet classes, we started attending those. But what we really liked were the puppy playtime sessions at Petco on Saturday. They were a puppy socialization service Petco offered, where you took your puppy to a room with other puppies and they played for an hour.
Not only did Oliver play, the sessions helped Oliver learn so much! He learned how to play nicely with other puppies, how he could bite other puppies instead of me all the time, how to tell other dogs no, how to engage in safe play, how to share and be patient when getting treats, and he loved meeting all of the other owners. Afterwards, he was always exhausted! I got a whole afternoon to relax!
This hour ended up becoming the best hour of my week. I loved learning from the Petco trainer Lucia who ran the sessions, talking to the other owners who came, and of course playing with the puppies! Oliver had so much fun playing every week with his friends too, and it really became something we both looked forward to.
Once Oliver was six months old, he and his friends moved to the "big puppy playtime" sessions, as the regular puppy playtime sessions were for younger puppies. Big puppy playtime was always scheduled right before puppy playtime.
One day, Oliver and I ended up staying for a bit after big puppy playtime to talk to Lucia the trainer, and the little puppies began coming in to the room for puppy playtime. We noticed that Oliver was amazing with the puppies!
He went from playing very roughly with his friends to extremely gently with the puppies. Lucia allowed us to stay for the entire session, and that's when we realized Oliver might be a great teacher for the puppies.
After that, Saturdays were even better! We got to go to big puppy playtime AND puppy playtime and it was the best. Oliver loved seeing his group of big dog friends, and after playing with them for an hour he was usually really tired, which made him a great playmate for the little puppies.
He was able to help teach them that big dogs aren't scary and at the same time he learned how to play very well with the puppies.
To me, it was remarkable how Oliver understood and adjusted his level of play from dogs to puppies.
Since COVID-19 came, Petco had to stop the puppy sessions due to physical distancing limitations. But I noticed that during the Pandemic, more people were getting puppies than ever.
I also realized how of those many puppies were missing out on the important aspect of socialization during puppyhood, and I wanted to help.
That's why I created the LJ Puppy Play sessions, to help puppies learn valuable life skills at a very important age.
These sessions emulate the puppy play sessions at Petco that I loved so much. They are 1-hour puppy socialization sessions for puppies 10 weeks to 6 months to learn how to play with each other and one big dog, Oliver.
Puppy parents can watch the sessions on a free streaming service, or have an hour to themselves while I entertain their pups.
So far I've seen improvement in every puppy that has come through LJ Puppy Play. Some begin very shy and leave incredibly confident, some just come and play and leave very tired! Either way, they always seem to have fun, which is very important too!
It makes me so happy teaching and seeing the positive changes in the puppies we work with. I'm so invested in each puppy's well being and it truly is a dream come true to work with all of them.
Ready to come play? Head over to the Services Page!